Law Seminars International Presents:

The Tenth Annual Seminar on

Public Records Act Litigation

Leading California PRA specialists will bring you up to date on the latest developments in requests, responses, and litigation

October 14, 2022

Live Online via Interactive Broadcast

As a value-added bonus, you'll receive access to downloadable audio and video recordings at no additional charge.

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Program Overview

Who Will Benefit from Attending

Attorneys, journalists, government officials, and other professionals who deal with public records requests under the California Public Records Act and Freedom of Information Act

Why You will Benefit from Attending

In this year's live online interactive Public Records Act program, we again explore the most significant current issues facing public records requestors and custodians today. To lay a good foundation for the substantive discussion of key issues, we will start with a legislative and case law update followed by tips for litigating PRA cases from the initial request through discovery, negotiations, and trial prep.

We are seeing increasing use of personal social media by public officials. You will hear an update on the First Amendment and other issues that arise when public officials make work-related posts on their personal accounts.

The conflict over police records continues as the profession continues to be under scrutiny. We will take a deep dive into cases filed under Senate Bill 1421 and strategies for dealing with situations where there is intense public interest in release of records.

Balancing the public's right to know against legitimate government needs for confidentiality can be a difficult task. You will hear updates on recent cases involving privacy, deliberative process assertions, employee discipline, and claimed exemptions to records disclosure.

We will end with an update on the ethical rules unique to this area of practice. Register soon to join us as we explore the most pressing current PRA issues in a conversational forum. We hope to "see" you there.

~ Karl Olson, Esq. of Cannata O'Toole Fickes & Olson and Christine Wood, Esq. of Best Best & Krieger, Program Co-Chairs

What You Will Learn

  • Judicial and Legislative Updates
  • The public's right to know in situations where government asserts a need for confidentiality
  • New developments in social media and the Public Records Act
  • Update on police records cases filed under Senate Bill 1421
  • Tips for litigating PRA cases
  • Ethical issues for lawyers

What Participants Have Said About Similar Programs

  • The panels were diverse and engaging
  • Very knowledgeable and experienced speakers
  • Nice to hear various perspectives on the California PRA
  • The entire program was beneficial

Friday, October 14, 2022

9:00 am

Introduction & Overview

Karl Olson, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Cannata O'Toole Fickes & Olson / San Francisco, CA

Christine Wood, Esq. , Program Co-Chair, Director of PRA Services and E-Discovery Counsel
Best Best & Krieger / Los Angeles, CA

9:15 am

Judicial and Legislative Updates

Recent court decisions and pending cases including the use and possible abuse of the "catchall exemption"; recodification of PRA

Annie Loo, Esq. , Deputy County Counsel
Orange County / Santa Ana, CA

Recent legislative initiatives including new bills that have been passed and proposed

Brittney Marie Barsotti, Esq. , General Counsel
California News Publishers Association / Sacramento, CA

10:00 am


10:15 am

Litigating PRA Cases (and How to Avoid Litigation)

From the dance of negotiation over responses to voluminous requests through discovery issues, settlement discussions, trial prep, briefing, presentation of evidence, and post-trial issues including attorney fee disputes

Kelly A. Aviles, Esq.
Law Offices of Kelly Aviles / La Verne, CA

Donald Alan Larkin, Esq. , City Attorney
City of Morgan Hill / Morgan Hill, CA

11:15 am

Social Media and the Public Records Act

The First Amendment and public records: Issues that arise when public officials make work-related posts, or comments critical of government personnel and policies, on personal social media accounts

Aaron Field, Esq.
Cannata O'Toole Fickes & Olson / San Francisco, CA

HongDao Nguyen, Esq.
Best Best & Krieger / Irvine, CA

12:15 pm

Lunch Break

1:15 pm

Police Records: Update on Public Records Act Cases Filed Under Senate Bill 1421

Legislative update

Robert Gammon , Communications director/policy adviser
Office of Senator Nancy Skinner, District 9, California State Senate / Sacramento, CA

Views from the trenches on issues and strategies for dealing with what can be intense public interest in access to police records

Tenaya Rodewald, Esq.
Sheppard Mullin / Palo Alto, CA

David E. Mastagni, Esq.
Mastagni Holstedt / Sacramento, CA

Nikki Moore, Esq. , Assistant District Attorney
San Francisco District Attorney's Office / San Francisco, CA

2:45 pm


3:00 pm

Balancing Access and Exemptions: The Public's Right to Know in Situations Where Government Asserts a Need for Confidentiality

Cases involving privacy, deliberative process assertions, employee discipline, and claimed exemptions to records disclosure

Karl Olson, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Cannata O'Toole Fickes & Olson / San Francisco, CA

Christine Wood, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Best Best & Krieger / Los Angeles, CA

Thomas Peele , Investigative Reporter
EdSource / Oakland, CA

4:00 pm

Legal Ethics

Public Records Act and Attorney-Client Privilege; Clawback and Quick-Peek Agreements; duties of public agency lawyers if they discover fraud or other wrongdoing

Abenicio Cisneros, Esq.
Law Offices of Abenicio Cisneros / Oakland, CA

5:00 pm

Evaluations and Adjourn

Faculty Bios

Karl Olson, Karl Olson, Program Co-Chair, is a named partner at Cannata O'Toole Fickes & Olson. He specializes in Public Records Act litigation and in defending news media clients and individuals against defamation and SLAPP suits (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation).

Christine Wood, Christine Wood, Program Co-Chair, is Director of PRA Services and E-Discovery Counsel at Best Best & Krieger. She is known for being able to distill complex and voluminous data with efficiency and ease, most notably in response to requests for public records.

Kelly A. Aviles, Kelly A. Aviles, Law Offices of Kelly Aviles, focuses on legal issues related to media and government transparency. She has served as Vice President for Open Government Compliance with Californians Aware.

Brittney Marie Barsotti Brittney Marie Barsotti is General Counsel of the California News Publishers Association (CNPA). She worked as a journalist before pursuing a legal career. Prior to joining CNPA, she was active in public service, working with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Boards of Parole Hearings and Equalization, and the Office of Legislative Counsel in Sacramento.

Abenicio Cisneros, Abenicio Cisneros, Law Offices of Abenicio Cisneros, focuses on California Public Records Act cases. He helps clients obtain records from government officials and entities.

Aaron Field, Aaron Field, Cannata O'Toole Fickes & Olson, focuses his practice on media and First Amendment law. He has extensive experience representing clients in efforts to access public records and proceedings, defending defamation cases, and using California's anti-SLAPP statute to quickly defeat meritless claims.

Robert Gammon Robert Gammon is Communications Director/Policy Adviser in the Office of State Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) who is the author of SB 1421, California's landmark police transparency law. He also worked on SB 16, Senator Skinner's follow-up legislation in 2021 that expanded and strengthened SB 1421.

Donald Larkin is C ity Attorney for a full-service city of approximately 45,000 residents. He provides advice to City Council and staff in all areas of municipal service, including land-use/planning, public works, economic development, public contracting, labor and employment practices, police, and recreation services. He also represents the City in writ litigation, prosecute municipal code violations, and manage government claims and tort litigation.

Annie Loo Annie Loo is Deputy County Counsel for Orange County. She is a former reporter for the Orange County Register and advises the County on Public Records Act issues. She also is adjunct faculty at Biola University where she teaches Public Affairs Reporting.

David E. Mastagni David E. Mastagni is a partner at Mastagni Holstedt. He specializes in labor and employment representation of public safety employees and devotes much of his practice to representing peace officers and their unions in a variety of areas, including disciplinary proceedings, enforcement of the POBR and privacy rights, critical incident investigations, and collective bargaining.

Nikki Moore Nikki Moore is an Assistant District Attorney in the San Francisco District Attorney's Office. She previously served as counsel for the Committee on Public Safety for the California State Assembly, legal counsel for the California News Publishers Association (CNPA), as a public records act services and e-discovery attorney at Best Best & Krieger.

HongDao Nguyen HongDao Nguyen is a partner at Best Best & Krieger and formerly worked as a news reporter. She now serves as Assistant City Attorney for the cities of Stanton, Aliso Viejo, and Lake Forest, and as deputy city attorney for the City of San Clemente.

Thomas Peele Thomas Peele is an Investigative Reporter for EdSource. He won a Pulitzer Prize for stories on the tragic Ghost Ship fire in Oakland and has won more that 70 other journalism awards including the (Ralph) McGill Medal for Journalistic Courage, and the Tom Renner Award from Investigative Reporters and Editors for reporting on organized crime. He is the author of Killing the Messenger, a book about the 2007 assassination of Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey.

Tenaya Rodewald is a partner in the Litigation and Privacy and Cybersecurity practices at Sheppard Mullin. She dvises clients of all sizes on legal issues related to privacy, media law and online content distribution.

Continuing Education Credits

Live credits: Law Seminars International is a State Bar of California approved MCLE provider. This program qualifies for 6.50 (1 Ethics included) California MCLE credits and 6.25 AICP land use planner credits. Upon request, we will help you apply for CLE credits in other states and other types of credits.

I appreciate LSI's seamless segue from registration, an informative seminar, to end result.

Accessing the Live Program

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